After a very tough season on and off the field in 2019, Addison Russell of Pensacola, Florida, has agreed to sign on with the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization. Russell, who played last season with the Chicago Cubs, was suspended 29 games to start the regular season for abusing his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy. On the field, Russell only batted .237 with nine home runs and 23 runs batted in.
The signing of Russell by the Heroes was announced on Saturday according to The Canadian Press. The terms of the deal are for one year and $530,000 overall.
One could make the argument that Addison was just looking for a fresh start. He was released by the Cubs in December. However, you could also make the claim that Russell was just legitimately looking for an opportunity to play professional baseball this season. With the coronavirus statistics skyrocketing in the United States, (especially in warmer climates), and Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association not being able to come to a contractual agreement on the 2020 regular season, Russell’s decision may have genuine positive benefits for his game as a whole.
Russell’s 2019 statistics also included 25 runs, 51 hits, four doubles, one triple, two stolen bases, 20 walks, 84 total bases, two sacrifice flies, and one sacrifice bunt in 82 games. He also had a .308 on base percentage and .391 slugging percentage.
Russell will be trying to bounce back to his 2016 All-Star season, where he had career highs in home runs (21), runs batted in (95), runs (67), hits (125), stolen bases (five), on base percentage (.321), and total bases (219). However that season, Russell still only batted .238 in the regular season and .203 in 17 playoff games as the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908. He had been with the Cubs since 2015.
So far this season, the Heroes are at 25 wins and 17 losses. They are in fourth place in the Korea Baseball Organization and trail the first place NC Dinos by four games.